This year the city of Thessaloniki took over the challenge, and it is since 1 January the newest, 6th European Youth Capital in history.
Thesssaloniki is 1000 kilometers away from Cluj, the shortest route to the Greek city is through the Calafat-Vidin Bridge, the newest above the Danube River, and through Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
Thessaloniki is, like Cluj, it’s countries second largest city and it is part of a metropolitan area with over 1.2 million inhabitants.
2014’s European Youth Capital features 11 thematic units:
Actions changing the landscape and colouring the urban scenery. The aim is to change the look of the city by the end of 2014 and create a basis for future landscape planning. With this we provide young citizens with the opportunity to shape the urban environment that they want to live in. Hence, we foster social and political participation of young people, utilise existing open spaces for cultural purposes and promote environmental issues.
The European Youth Capital is all about Volunteerism. Therefore there is a pronounced focus on volunteerism in all project themes covered in 2014. With this in mind, we came up with the idea of the “Thessaloniki Time Bank” where volunteers will deposit time (volunteer work) and can exchange this “currency” with free access to events or other activities also elsewhere in Europe.
URBAN SPORT STORIES
There can be no Youth Capital without sports. Numerous activities are set to happen in urban places. Thessaloniki is graced with hills and sea. Actions have been designed to expose young citizens and visitors to a variety of sports, both extreme and mainstream.
CULTURE IN THE CITY
“Culture in the city” aims to promote general cultural activities and to create culture dynamics. The project will provide opportunities to experience culture in conventional and unconventional venues in the city. Young people will discover the rich and varied cultural heritage of Thessaloniki, experiment with current trends and expose themselves to other European cultures. Festivals, competitions, games and happenings are part of the actions.
THE SOCIAL CITY
The aim of this project theme is to create as many actions as possible to strengthen social links, inform against prejudice, social exclusion etc. Several actions use new and traditional methods to pinpoint differences and highlight similarities among the inhabitants of Thessaloniki. As stated previously, Thessaloniki has a rich cultural tapestry since for many centuries Greeks, Muslims, Jews, Armenians, Roma and others have lived in peace, and this should be celebrated.
HERE WE ARE
These actions aim to present our Greek identity and history as well as our identity as part of the greater idea called “Europe”, by offering opportunities for multiculturalism, integration and youth cooperation.
THE NGO TABLE
This list of actions is a cornerstone of our year-long programme. Each month, NGOs from Greece and abroad (through existing and new networks) will work on fields relevant to the monthly keywords (see above), invite partners from other EU and Balkan countries, exchange knowledge and draw up policies. The fact that Greece will hold the Presidency of the EU during the 1st half of 2014 offers a great opportunity to the youth of the city to promote their policies for a better future in Greece and the Balkans.
EXPERIMENTING THE FUTURE
The specific goal of this category of actions is that young participants will familiarise themselves with future trends through workshops, seminars and actions promoting new technologies and new ideas.
URBAN GREEN STORIES
Quality of life in cities is a very important issue and therefore actions to discuss, experiment with and recommend improvements to the urban environment are among the list of actions set to shape a better future for the city and share good practices with other cities. This is another cornerstone of our annual programme.
Special actions have been planned for each month to celebrate specific International Days. Within this context we want to encourage young people to think globally and act locally and vice versa.
This set of actions will assist youth to interact. A multilingual website and a youth card will be created in order to inform and motivate youth to participate. In addition, a summer boat from the Greek islands and a 7-day camping event will trigger an exchange of ideas with people from other countries.
Some useful links: